Monday, June 17, 2013

One Helluva Week

One week ago today, the community of Black Forest, CO began the day, going about their normal Tuesday routines, never dreaming of the nightmare that would come with the wind that afternoon. 502 families (at last count) lost their homes, one couple lost their lives, at least 30 horses were unclaimed, some died in the fire and others may still be wandering through the forest, along with other pets and farm animals.

Many homes, and many of the iconic buildings in the community were saved through the efforts of just over a thousand firefighters. Some firefighters have returned home, others are still managing the fire which is at 75% containment. In looking at aerial photos it seems that many of the homes that were saved are islands in a sea of charred land. As these families return they must deal with the loss, the stench and the surreal landscape. 

Almost one year ago, a friend I have met only via her Blog narrowly escaped a wildfire. The fire blocked her escape. She and her husband drove to a green field and waited out the fire, then raced through the flames to save the house. Her Blog name is “Feral Woman”... it fits her “hell-fire, spit and determination” attitude!  In reading Feral’s posts I could feel her exhaustion and sense her discouragement. In viewing her photos, I could understand her nightmares. Here are three of the posts Feral put up about the 2012 fire she experienced in Montana:



Recently, Feral posted a picture taken the morning after her fire.
She wrote:

i put this up for contrast to

a little something I put together

~dedicated to you, our blogger friends, & our blogger friends & family in the Colorado fires~

because its all I can do right now; such is the way with fire. 
you wait.
 and
a year later,
what you told me
was right...

Feral's video touched my heart. She made me cry. I cried for the Black Forest community that will never quite be the same. I cried for other communities experiencing destruction. But, I also cried a few happy tears, too. Feral speaks of the promise of the future...



Thanks, Feral. This is so beautiful. Well said! Thanks for showing my friends that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for letting me share this uplifting video.

Feral Woman also sent me the following list she found in the Denver Post:

Here are some other ways you can give or get help according to the Denver Post recent article-

• El Paso County has established an online information clearinghouse at elpasoco.com/pages/safetyandassistance.aspx. This is where displaced residents can download copies of the re-entry packet, which includes key emergency phone numbers and other helpful information.

• Several Colorado broadcast stations will host a live phone bank fundraiser 4:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday to raise cash for American Red Cross relief programs in the Black Forest area and other fire zones, and help fund preparedness work in other Colorado communities facing potential disasters including fires, floods, tornadoes and more.

The television and radio stations participating are: KMGH (7News), KUSA (9News), KCNC (CBS4), KDVR (Fox31), KWGN (Channel 2), KCEC (Univision), Rocky Mountain PBS, Colorado Public Television, KUVO, KUNC and KRCC.

• The Margarita at PineCreek will host a benefit on its patio — rain or shine — 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday. Participants' $20 donation at the door goes to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation Emergency Relief Fund and covers a round of drinks, appetizers and live music from The Other Band and The Acme Bluegrass Band. RSVP at 719-598-8667 or themargarita@att.net

• Panera Bread stores in Colorado Springs are hosting a food drive for Care and Share Food Bank and will throw in $1 for every pound of food donated, up to $10,000. The food bank is seeking canned and boxed meals, soup, cereal, peanut butter, canned vegetables and fruit and snacks.

• The American Red Cross continues to operate an overnight shelter at Palmer Ridge High School in Monument. The Red Cross cannot accept goods of any kind, but money can be donated at redcross.org/colorado or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. You also can make a donation of $10 by texting a message to 90999.

• Evacuees and family members can register to reconnect through the Safe and Well program at safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.phpt.

• A multi-organization assistance center has been set up at the El Paso County Public Health Department, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, Colorado Springs. Evacuees can speak to representatives of major insurance companies, utility providers and local nonprofits, as well as grief counselors, health care workers and emergency personnel. Comfort Kits containing personal hygiene items and stuffed animals are also available. The center is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Phone: 719-444-8301.

• Additional Red Cross aid stations distributing clean-up kits — sifters, shovels, trash bags, work gloves, rakes, paper towels, and face masks will be available at fixed site locations and mobile distribution beginning Thursday — water, snacks, and offering informational resources and emotional counseling are open at School in the Woods, 12002 Vollmer Rd., Colorado Springs, 11a.m.-6 p.m.; Colorado 83 and Hodgen Road, noon to 6 p.m.; and Woodmen Road and Black Forest Road, noon-6 p.m.

• Large-animal shelters remain open at Cactus Creek Ranch, 18550 Midway Ranch Road in Pueblo; Flying W Ranch, 3330 Chuckwagon Road in Colorado Springs; and the Elbert County Fairgrounds in Kiowa.

• Small animals can be dropped off at the Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region, 610 Abbot Lane, Colorado Springs. Lost and found animals can be registered at the Black Forest Fire Lost and Found Pets on Facebook.

• People interested in volunteering for the recovery effort can get guidelines from HelpColoradoNow.org.

• Vacant and ready-to-move-in properties can be listed by clicking on the Colorado Disaster Housing Resource button atColoradoHousingSearch.com or by calling 877-428-8844. Available housing is listed, too.

If you have other resources to share, e-mail newsroom@denverpost.com with "FIRE HELP" in the subject line.





11 comments:

  1. I was waiting this whole year to see green grass at feral woman's place and I was so happy when it finally arrived with flowers even to brighten that sad landscape and cheer her up.

    I know this will give your friends hope for the future. It was a lovely thing to do, to share. But that's the way she is, a feral woman with a very big heart.

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  2. Cyndi,
    I followed all those posts at the time it all happened to Feral Woman. What a comeback. I sure hope some of the farm animals are found in your area...such a major tragedy for all the families who have lost everything.
    It must be hard to sleep at night when there are raging fires. Thank you so much for keeping us in the loop. Have you heard from Terry?

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  4. This post made me cry. I am so sorry you are all going through this.I followed Feral Woman every step of the way not knowing the REAL truth. You are living and experiencing the Real truth, I know that support and a shoulder to cry on are needed. I have put a link on my side bar to Feral Woman's site where people can get the information they need to help people like yourself.
    We have no idea but we can help. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Hug B

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  5. What a scary time for all of us. I hope your friends are doing okay.

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  6. I too was a follower of Feral when she was going through all of this. She has been through a lot and she always seems to have such a positive attitude. I heard over 500 families lost their homes on the news yesterday and I thought of you. So glad you are safe.
    That video was beautiful and I'm sure it gives a lot of people hope. I've never seen grass ponies before, have you? Stay safe.

    Cindy Bee

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  7. Hey, i love reading your blog and want to thank you for keeping us all upto date on the fire.

    I have nominated you for the liebster blog award to check it out head over to my blog http://thewaytoheavenisonhorseback.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/liebster-blog-award.html

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  8. Very powerful. Thoughts are with you and yours.

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  9. Thanks for sharing this, Dreaming.

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